Tag: the board

President’s Blog – The Joy of Shopping!

By Pete Woltz, IFC Board President

A big THANKS to all who shopped and provided product at the Coop in January.  It appears we are on track, once again, to meet our projections!  Sometimes I ask myself, how is this modest success possible in this world of ever increasing competition for our member’s food dollar?

Here is why we shop.  Each weekday morning my wife, Cindy, and I wake up to news reports describing chaos in the world.  We hear warnings, criticisms, and insults from local news shows, CNN, MSNBC , and the like.  On Saturday mornings, however, we wake up to a different view of the world.  We watch Bob Ross reruns of “The Joy of Painting” on PBS.

Bob passed away in 1995 but his unique style of painting and “therapy for the weary” lives on through reruns.   He describes the world he creates on canvas while he paints:

  • “You can do anything you want to do. This is your world”
  • “We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents”
  • “You can put as many or as few as you want in your world”
  • “There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend”
  • “Talk to the tree, make friends with it”
  • “Maybe in our world there lives a happy little tree over there”


Why is this relevant?  It is because “The Joy of Painting” reruns give Cindy and I the same sensation that we get from shopping at the Coop.  In this world of breaking news, convenience stores, and 140 word tweets, shopping the Coop is our food gathering therapy.  Shopping the Coop allows us to calmly plan our meals, on our own time, from the hundreds of listed Coop products.  We enjoy reading about the “happy worlds” of those who produced our meals.  In our world, this sure beats grabbing a quick meal from the deli! 

The Coop is “Slow Shopping” at its best.    What are your reasons for shopping the Coop?   

Now we all have the opportunity to share our “Coop” experience with more kindred souls in our community.   Kelly Tagtow, Lisa Bean,  Loulou Dickey, and Gary Huber have developed a program which offers free 90 day trial memberships to people belonging to selected clubs, businesses, or organizations.  We could use your assistance by helping us to identify qualifying groups then distributing our literature.   Help us spread “The Joy of Shopping”.  Comment on this blog or email Gary at gary@iowafood.coop with your ideas for Trial Membership groups.

IFC President’s Blog – Holy Rutabagas!

By Pete Woltz, IFC Board President

On behalf of the Board and all of the IFC producers, I would like to THANK everyone who purchased products during our December cycles.  Give yourselves a hearty round of applause.  Your coop exceeded its budgeted revenue by nearly 20% and realized one of the IFC’s best months ever!  

Contributing to the surge was a large listing of nearly 1100 products.   Producers, please take a bow for providing a remarkably wide range of products for a winter month.   In addition to our staple of delicious baked goods, home grown meats, eggs, and cheese, we continued to see fall favorites like Swiss chard, kale, spinach, potatoes, carrots, apples, and rutabagas.   New products included pasta and artisan bacon.  Really, IFC producers are the greatest! 

Board News

The Board met December 17th and was introduced to our new IFC home page.  Slideshow graphics and bulleted features are designed to more clearly demonstrate the IFC experience to first time visitors.  This is important because Kelly Tagtow and the Marketing committee are launching a ‘Trial Membership’ campaign in select locations such as health clubs, restaurants, and churches.  We anticipate many new visitors to our site in the near future.

Keep an eye on the new products in the upcoming months.  The Producers committee chairwoman, Shanen Ebersole, is aggressively reaching out to area producers offering unique products.  Is there a product you would like to see listed?  Let us know at info@iowafood.coop.

The one thing we all have in common as members of the IFC is a passion for food.   We love to eat the area’s best locally grown foods and we love to COOK the area’s best locally grown foods.   It only stands to reason, then, that among our ranks are some really good chefs.  Lisa Bean is on a crusade, as chairwoman of the Consumers committee, to expose our membership’s culinary expertise in the form of a Chef’s Blog.  Do you have a favorite recipe?   Let us know at info@iowafood.coop.

What would a first board meeting be without a group picture?

From left to right are Lisa Bean, Carrie Cook, Dan Beougher, Shanen Ebersole, Pete Woltz and,  Joe Monahan.  Not shown are Kelly Tagtow and Carrie Williams

The new board officers include myself as President, Shanen Ebersole as VP of Producers, Lisa Bean as VP of Consumers, Carrie Cook as Treasurer, Carrie Williams as Secretary, and Kelly Tagtow as VP of Marketing.

Shop the IFC!

Let’s go for another record month in January.  Treat yourself to the best local food on the planet.  The cart is open.

Pete Woltz


IFC President’s Blog

Pete & Cindy Woltz

Pete and Cindy Woltz at the Farmer’s Market

Hi. Pete Woltz here with Timber Ridge Cattle Company. I want take this opportunity to thank the IFC board members for having the confidence in me to elect me as IFC President.  It is a great honor.

Part of what I want to do as your President is periodically write about important IFC topics.  I’ll start with a short story that is related to what our coop means to me.My sister-in-law’s family fled Cuba in the 60’s to take up residence here in the “land of the free”.  My sister in-law’s father, whose name was Pastor, soon began to miss the intimacy of his Cuban neighborhood.  To mitigate this emptiness, Pastor became a frequent visitor at his local Safeway where each day he was met with a smile and a “Hey Pastor!” greeting by the staff.  In his later years, Pastor’s daily visit to the Safeway was therapeutic to his loneliness as it served to replace the sense of “community” he so missed from his homeland.

I mention this topic because if we are to grow as a business, we must balance the importance of our community with sound financial decisions.  This balancing was clearly evident last week at the first IFC board meeting since electing five new board members at our annual meeting.

We started the meeting by having each of us describe what it meant to be an IFC member.  Overwhelmingly, they all agreed that we are more than a place to buy food; the coop represents a unique and rewarding community experience.  Just as for Pastor, the simple act of gathering food at the IFC opens an explosion of conversations, ideas, and relationships often missing from modern culture.

We went on from affirming the importance of our community to discuss how to grow sales, which have been flat for over a year.  The discussion focused on ways to better market our coop.  The enthusiasm and fresh ideas were invigorating, and the board is eager to undertake some new initiatives.  These include expanding our trial membership program, creating a chef’s blog with recipes and stories about our foods, and recruiting new producers with unique new products to expand and diversify our product selections.

The topic of adding new products led to a discussion of adjusting our standards on who can sell what products.  While pledging to maintain the integrity of our commitment to local products and producers, which we all agreed was a basic value of our community, the board agreed to consider granting variances in special situations to be able to offer popular products that have disappeared from our shopping cart.

We specifically addressed the lack of apples because of this year’s growing season.  The board agreed that in cases like this we would consider granting variances if 1) the variance was time limited and 2) the source of the product was identified. We’ve subsequently granted a variance to Iowa Orchard so they could sell apples between now and when next year’s crop arrives from an orchard they rent across the border near LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

I wanted to let you know about this change in our policies so you weren’t surprised.  We will continue to try to balance our commitment to the values that make us unique with the realities of running a sound business.  Indeed, we feel it can be done, and we believe this year has the potential to be a great one for the IFC.

What can you do?  Engage yourself in the most amazing, friendly, healthy community of local food gatherers in the “land of the free”.  Shop your IFC, tell your family and friends about us, and help with your time and talent!

Thanks for your time. Feel free to contact me at peter.woltz@timberridgecattle.com.